When a loved one has died, people want to say goodbye in an appropriate way. Funeral flower arrangements are a beautiful way to do this. Flowers bring a bit of peace during the funeral. Moreover, flowers bring comfort and a token of sympathy to the family and loved ones of the deceased. We attended an Open Funeral Day where florist Leonie Koffeman of Bloem & Bijzaak inspired us with beautiful creations and told us about (making) funeral arrangements.
A funeral with flowers
Funerals are increasingly seen as a celebration of life; an honourable and dignified, but above all personal farewell. During the Open Funeral Day, people can find out more about the possibilities in the field of funerals. And, of course, that includes flowers! Florist Leonie Koffeman, owner of Bloem & Bijzaak, made beautiful funeral creations with our flowers and presented them during this event.
First of all, we meet Leonie. She has been in the business for 23 years. At 14, she started an apprenticeship in a flower shop. That's where the passion for the trade began and where she got to learn a lot. After that, she worked in many shops and even at the Amsterdam flower stall. Until she decided to start her own business six years ago, and thus Bloem & Bijzaak was born. What started as a home studio eventually became a flower shop in December 2022.
Types of funeral arrangements
Leonie talks about the different types of mourning arrangements she makes. These are mainly more wild pieces. According to the customer's wishes, the shape of the piece is determined, which can be round, oval-shaped or heart-shaped, for example.
A large coffin covering is also an option. For this, Leonie makes a beautiful wild and field-like piece with many different flowers in it.
Sometimes loose flowers are also used during a funeral, creating a beautiful sea of flowers. The loose flowers are placed one by one in a vase or loosely on the coffin as a farewell. Nowadays, more picking flowers in bright colours are used for this.
Leonie says it could be a bit brighter and more cheerful these days: "Where it used to be classic and later, now it's looser and less stately. A very nice application, for example, is the flower belt. This is a fabric band that is tied around a (open or closed) coffin or basket at a funeral. The band contains up to 170 loops into which loose flowers can be inserted by anyone. It is made of unbleached cotton, a sustainable and eco-friendly product.
Another beautiful way to say goodbye is with a farewell boat. This is a boat that is beautifully made up with flowers and let out into nature via the water. Appropriate to this is to work with materials that are biodegradable, such as bio oasis." A wreath is also a favourite of Leonie's. "You also see these days that the wreath is hung so that the floral arrangement is in the shape of a moon. In the centre of the wreath then hangs a string with a pearl attached".
We can safely conclude that the traditional types of funeral arrangements are no longer taken for granted. As a florist, it is also okay to work out of the box around funeral arrangements.
Leonie has an obituary assignment every week or so. She usually then visits people's homes to talk to the whole family about their wishes. Leonie says: "People enjoy being in their own environment. Moreover, I also have more time then to show them the possibilities and make it more personal. When I'm talking to them, I can bring them out of their shell. So for example, I ask what they should think of when they think of the deceased person, what flowers were always on the table, what was the favourite colour, are there any other hobbies or things we can do something with? For example, for one family I incorporated a vinyl record into a flower arrangement, because the deceased person loved that so much."
Leonie gives the tip to do something with the flowers even after the funeral. "You can also make bouquets of the flowers after a funeral, so-called comfort bouquets. These can then be delivered to the family, allowing them to experience comfort through the flowers even after the funeral. I work with people who specialise in flower preparations such as casting flowers in epoxy, a very special way of preserving flowers as a lasting reminder."